Marketing pet food is all about appealing to people’s strong emotional connection with their pets. And that’s exactly what retail giant Asda has focused on in redesigning its pet food.
With the pet sector booming, Asda wanted its own-brand pet food ranges – Hero for dogs, Tiger for cats – to discard their budget connotations. So it asked enlisted branding, design and communications agency Stormbrands to refresh and modernise its offerings in the face of increasing competition.
The new branding also needed to better reflect Asda’s purpose: ‘Providing brighter living within everyone’s reach.’
Stormbrands found a consumer shift from pet ‘ownership’ to pet ‘parenthood’, driving a new level of care for our animals, who are felt to be family members.
To people who don’t have pets, this might sound like splitting hairs, but to the rest of us, it makes an awful lot of sense. You ‘own’ something like a car, but caring for a pet creates a deeper emotional bond. (When a car breaks down, it’s annoying but not the end of the world. If a pet gets sick, it’s terrifying and heartbreaking.)
Consequently, the agency’s creative approach was based on the unspoken connection between people and their pets; we understand their needs, and they understand ours – particularly when it comes to the curiosity and excitement that surrounds feeding time.
Stormbrands had the idea of focusing on the latter as the rebrand’s point of focus, and the results speak for themselves.
Through striking and playful photography, Stormbrands brings the moment our pets understand it’s time for food to the forefront of the brand. The effect is subtle but immediately tugs on our heartstrings, even if we don’t immediately recognise why.
These images are teamed with a soft and friendly marque that echoes how our pets squeeze into any nook and cranny to get to their meal.
Softer brand colours mirror the incumbent design but have been modernised to appeal to younger pet parents. Meanwhile, a friendly, playful, and reassuring tone of voice, executed in an emotive typeface, conveys the closeness between us and our pets.
At the same time, the rebrand has been designed to change customers’ perceptions of an own-brand retail pet food range so they can see Asda’s offering can be just as credible and nutritious as branded competitors.
The category as a whole was found to be busy and confusing, so this tension had to be resolved. Now, meticulously considered brand architecture aids shopper navigation through a clear hierarchy of communication, consistent colour coding and life-stage signposting.
Stormbrands has unified both Hero and Tiger brands to feel succinct and harmonious whilst still having distinct and flexible elements that work independently across the animal types. As well as finalising the design for all lines across the range, the agency created packaging and brand guidelines to steer its future, plus point-of-sale activation and communications stimulus.
All in all, the new branding embraces the brighter, joyful aspect of Asda by tapping into current consumer trends, creating engagement through modernisation and simplification.
“We wanted to make sure this work delivers against what we’re famous for – energising brands to move mindsets, markets and culture,” says Zoe Phillipson, creative director at Stormbrands. “We’re excited to see how the new range can change current consumer shopping habits and perceptions of own-label offerings by capturing ‘swing shoppers’ and creating a destination brand for Asda.”
Justine Jackson-Hickling, head of own brand design at Asda, adds: “Stormbrands’ response to reposition and redesign our much-loved Tiger and Hero pet brands was spot on from the very beginning. The clarity of thinking and clear rationale they demonstrated throughout their work was invaluable, particularly given the complexity of the category and range.
“Their bold and brave thinking really pushed us to see the true potential of these much-loved brands. They have defined a strong, modern and relatable identity for Tiger and Hero, allowing us to continue building strength across our portfolio of own brands.”